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Hendrix Names New Distinguished Professor

Maxine Payne named Willis H. Holmes Distinguished Professor of Art 

CONWAY, Ark. (June 5, 2024) — Hendrix College has announced art professor and photographer Maxine Payne as the new Willis H. Holmes Distinguished Professor of Art.  

Payne, who joined the Hendrix faculty in 2002, will be formally installed at a convocation set for Thursday, August 29, at 11:10 a.m., in Reves Recital Hall. 

The Willis H. Holmes Distinguished Professorship was established in 1976 in honor of Mr. Holmes, a 1921 graduate of Hendrix, an attorney, and a member of the Board of Trustees until his death in 1975. Payne is the sixth Hendrix faculty member to hold the position.  

Previous recipients of the Holmes Distinguished Professorship are Francis Christie (1976-1991), Rosemary Henenberg (1991-2002), Warfield Teague (2002-2008), Jay McDaniel (2008-2019), and John Krebs (2019-2024).    

Payne, who currently holds the Isabelle Peregrin Odyssey Professorship, was chosen for the honor by the College’s Committee on Faculty. She was nominated for exemplifying “the character and work ethic of a Hendrix College professor and has excelled in teaching, professional activities, and service to the institution.” 

“Her dedication to their work and progress can be witnessed in the artistic projects these students continue to undertake,” a colleague wrote in her nomination. “Any photography student will tell you that in Maxine’s classes, they spend many hours in the field and many hours in the darkroom, Maxine at their side, learning the art and science of analog photography. Students leave Maxine’s photography classes with a deep appreciation of this art form and the skill and dedication that it requires.”  

A prolific collaborator, Payne has worked with faculty colleagues to connect Hendrix students to people and places near and far in engaged learning projects through the Hendrix Odyssey Program.  She has produced numerous solo and group exhibits, books, and other publications. Her work appears in several museums and private collections and is shown locally, regionally, and nationally. Her service to the College is equally extraordinary. In addition to chairing the Department of Art, she has served as chair of the Academic Integrity Committee.   

“She has exemplified the whole person in her varied and high-quality contributions to the College’s students, reputation, and status,” said her nominator. “The education our art majors receive, as well as those for whom art is but a passing interest, is greatly enhanced by Maxine’s work.” 

Only five other Hendrix faculty members currently hold distinguished professorships: 

  • Dr. Jennifer Peszka, the Virginia A. McCormick Pittman Distinguished Professor of Psychology;  

  • Dr. Lyle Rupert ’82, the C. Louis and Charlotte Cabe Distinguished Professor of Economics and Business;  

  • Dr. Allison Shutt, the Elbert L. Fausett Distinguished Professor of History;  

  • Dr. Alex Vernon, the M.E. and Ima Graves Peace Distinguished Professor of English;  

  • Dr. Carol West, the Harold and Lucy Cabe Distinguished Professor of English. 

About Maxine Payne  

Currently a professor in the Art Department at Hendrix College, Maxine Payne works to find ways to engage community in her work and speaks to the idea of place. She currently shares the Isabelle Peregrin Odyssey Professorship with author and Hendrix English and creative writing professor Dr. Tyrone Jaeger. Their collaborative project with Hendrix College students and alumni, called Audio Visual Arkansas, focuses on collecting digital stories about Arkansans and can be seen at    

She was awarded the 2013 National Museum of Women in the Arts, Arkansas Fellowship for her photographic work. Since 2004, she has photographed hundreds of Arkansas historic bridges for the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department.  

She received her M.F.A. from the University of Iowa where she was also an Iowa Arts Fellow. She was selected a Fellow of the American Photography Institute at New York University, as well as a Fellow of the College Art Association.  

Her work can be viewed at

About Hendrix College 

Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges and celebrated among the country’s leading liberal arts colleges for academic quality, engaged learning opportunities and career preparation, vibrant campus life, and value. The Hendrix College Warriors compete in 21 NCAA Division III sports. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. Learn more at   

“… Through engagement that links the classroom with the world, and a commitment to diversity, inclusion, justice, and sustainable living, the Hendrix community inspires students to lead lives of accomplishment, integrity, service, and joy.” —Hendrix College Statement of Purpose